The media loves the troops — as long as they are dead, wounded, disfigured, disabled, evicted, disturbed, suicidal, broke, deserting, or otherwise in a category that can be portrayed as a “victim” of the Pentagon or a Republican President. Healthy, squared-away, gung-ho troops who believe in their country, duty and mission, interest the media very little. This is why I’m always suspicious of claims from certain quarters of the press (do the initials “C.M.” and “K.O.” seem to fit?) that they “support the troops.”
But for those who would like to support the troops in a way the troops might actually notice and benefit from, I would like to offer a tiny suggestion: why don’t you vote for the commander-in-chief that the troops want to have?
For many of us civilians, the choice of President often boils down to a) voting for the candidate we believe will keep our stuff safe from government, or b) voting for the candidate we hope will use government to give us other people’s stuff. (These choices describe conservatives and liberals, respectively. Moderates just vote for whichever choice they believe they will have to defend less if challenged on the issue.)
But for military personnel, the choice of President is, very directly, an issue of life and death. For them, a “bad day at the office” might involve amputation, and the President of the United States is their commander-in-chief. He is the man with the most control over how they are treated and what they are asked to fight for and perhaps die for. The President is someone they must give far more consideration to than anyone else in our country.
Significantly, a recent poll of active duty and retired military personnel showed that their choice for President is clear and decisive. Overwhelmingly, they want to be commanded by John McCain. In the military.com survey of 4300 respondents, John McCain was preferred over Barack Obama by 68 to 23 percent — an incredible 3-to-1 margin.
The blowout margin was the same for enlisted men as it was for officers, with John McCain being the choice of a majority every subgroup polled except one: 80 percent of blacks indicated a preference for Barack Obama. Among men, women, officers, enlisted men, whites, and Hispanics, McCain was chosen handily.
It is interesting to note that the Iraq war was only the third most important issue for respondents in making their selection, although 74 percent said McCain would do a superior job of running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and only 16 percent believed Obama would do a better job. The most important issue to the respondents, however, was “character.” The troops trust John McCain to lead them into the next four years of history.
So for those needing an extra push off the fence before Election Day, you might consider our country’s service men and women — and give them the commander they want. John McCain is the clear choice.